Knight: Pompey’s natural finisher shines again

Conor Chaplin, centre, is congratulated by Adam May and Kyle Bennett at Westleigh Park Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin, centre, is congratulated by Adam May and Kyle Bennett at Westleigh Park Picture: Joe Pepler
Milan Lalkovic. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey winger out until the new year

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So how do you get Conor Chaplin into your team?

That’s the million-dollar question and one the manager will now have to look at.

I don’t think anyone can doubt Conor is a goal-scoring talent and will cause opponents problems. He possesses a natural ability which you cannot coach

Alan Knight

Only two matches into pre-season, Kenny Jackett will be weighing up formations and personnel – and the result at the Hawks would have given plenty of food for thought.

We were all pleased to see Conor grab a 15-minute hat-trick in the 6-0 victory at Westleigh Park, he’s such a popular lad.

I don’t think anyone can doubt he is a goalscoring talent and will cause opponents problems. He possesses a natural ability which you cannot coach.

Ever since Pompey have been playing 4-2-3-1, it has been difficult for anyone in the lone striking role. The team have struggled to get people in and around them.

For me, it is always a 4-4-2. If the front two are not working out as the game progresses, you can then employ a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 to change it.

Conor can definitely play in that two, yet it’s all about people adapting within a system.

Still, that is down to the manager to resolve and he will be analysing these pre-season performances to decide how his team will line up.

Certainly, nobody will be getting carried away with Saturday – and Conor will undoubtedly keep his feet on the ground.

Everything must remain in perspective and I know they will do just that.

Having said that, I thought the lads played some good stuff against the National League South side and enjoyed lots and lots of possession.

I remember a couple of years ago watching Paul Cook’s team against the Hawks and was impressed with a 1-1 draw.

I thought we would get promoted that first season under him, but it didn’t pan out like that. Instead, we got out of League Two last term.

Lee Bradbury’s team will have been gutted about the size of Saturday’s defeat, but they were doing okay until the own goal from Lee Molyneaux.

Then Conor struck three times, with the second half interrupted by substitutes from either side.

For a pre-season game it was surprising to see the tempo so high, while Alex Bass didn’t have much to do apart from coming off his line very well to claim the ball in the first half.

It was also clear that the new left-back, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, is very attack-minded, producing a quality assist for the second goal.

Still, at the moment the objective is getting game time – and the boys building an understanding.